What happened me to stumble upon this poem was the challenge from a dear friend who found the work of Edith Wharton ... dull. (It is painful even to communicate such heresy).
I therefore dedicate this poem, by Edith Wharton to the children who have been swept up by the state from the FLDS community. Children who are being assigned to foster care and group homes because the community *might* be allowing underage girls to marry. Now keep in mind that the same state officials have absolutely no problem with young girls being sexually active- that is quite fine and a measure of freedom and empowerment. (my apologies to Maggie Gallagher for saying it even in jest) But keep in mind that activity must be contracepted, the results aborted and relationship uncommitted. That my friends is
Just ask yourself- is there evidence of child abuse? No.
Is there evidence of neglect? No.
Is this an attempt by the federal government to redeem themselves after the disaster of Waco? Clearly.
I am not in favor of polygamy. But keep in mind that the same government forces that have taken children from their mothers (however misguided those ladies may be) have no problem with divorce and remarriage (serial polygamy), promiscuity, abortion and contraception- and I realize the line between the two is becoming more blurry by the day.
But who is paying for crime of polygamy? The men who take multiple wives? Some disgustingly young? Or the children born to those relationships?
The wrong people are in jail... I mean foster care. Well you know what I mean.
ONLY A CHILD.
"The Press of May 27 publishes an account of the suicide in the House of Refuge at Philadelphia of a boy who was only twelve years old. He was locked up in solitary confinement. They found him hanging by the neck dead and cold. Tired of waiting for the release that never came, he had at last escaped -- from that House of Refuge!" -- THE WORLD.
They found him hanging dead, you know,
In the cell where he had lain
Through many a day of restless woe
And night of sleepless pain.
The heart had ceased its beating,
The little hands were numb,
And the piteous voice entreating
In death at last was dumb.
No doubt it was a painful fact
For them to contemplate;
They felt the horror of the act,
But felt it rather late.
There was none to lay the blame to --
That, each one understands;
And the jury found -- he came to
His death by his own hands!
Poor little hands! that should have known
No subtler arts than these --
To seek for violets newly blown
Beneath the April breeze,
Or gaily bind unchidden
The daisies into sheaves,
Or reach the bird's nest hidden
Among the budding leaves.
Poor little hands! And little heart
That ached so long alone,
With none to ease its secret smart
And none to hear its moan;
As he lay where they had cast him
In the dark upon the floor,
And heard the feet go past him
Outside his prison door.
Think of him, you whose children lie
Soft sleeping overhead;
All day he could not see the sky,
All night he had no bed.
Your walls of brick and mortar
To shut the child's soul in,
And starving on bread and water
For -- some little childish sin!
So in the darkness there he lay
While the hours crawled along,
And thought of the woodlands far away
Awake with the robin's song;
And thought of the green grass growing
And the boys at play outside,
And the breath of heaven blowing
O'er the country far and wide.
Perhaps he saw his mother's face
Bend o'er him in the gloom;
But when he leaned to catch her dress
She vanished from the room;
And though he tried to remember
The prayer he used to say,
In a pitiful, broken stammer
On his lips it died away.
His little hands had nought to do
But beat against the wall,
Until at last too tired they grew --
Poor little hands -- so small!
And so he lay there voiceless,
Alone upon the ground;
If he wept, his tears were noiseless,
For he feared to hear their sound.
At last perhaps the silence grew
Too deep -- it dazed his head --
And his little hands had naught to do;
And so -- they found him dead!
In a Christian town it happened,
In a home for children built,
And God knows whose soul shall answer
For the burden of this guilt!
But He who bade the children come
And not be turned away,
Has surely taken the homeless home,
And we need not mourn to-day;
For our lives are all God-given,
The poorest to him is dear,
And the Father has room in heaven
For the children we don't want here!
New York, May 29 EADGYTH.